Artistic nails might not always be functional, especially those involving 3D or odd nail shapes, but they’re certainly a skill that takes years to master. Those who specialize in this particular artistry point out that really elaborate nails aren’t intended for daily use, but instead are just a means to show off a person’s creativity and talents. It’s hard to deny that these nail designs require plenty of both.
1. She's Got The Whole World On Her Hands
DeviantArt user LolaBevahousen entered the “worldly” set of nails pictured above in a Facebook nail contest with a “world cultures” theme. Amazingly, she only came in tenth. It makes you wonder just how amazing the other winner’s creations were.
2. Super Mario Hands
If you’re going to take on a classic game like Super Mario 3, you might as well go big. Janet Riffe certainly did an excellent job putting these together.
3. Here Comes Santa Claws
Janet also did a magnificent job of “making spirits bright” with these impressive Christmas nails complete with Santa, Rudolph, candy canes, Christmas lights and more! Looking for something a little more summery? Try these tropical nails on for size.
4. Hungry For Style
Got a soft spot for junk food? Then call up Janet Riffe and ask her to paint your favorite foods on your hands like she did in this great series. Do you think Cheetos dust tastes even better when licked from a Cheetos nail? If you prefer candy to salty snacks, don’t worry, she has you covered there too.
5. Feeling Koi?
If you enjoy classic Japanese artwork, then you’ll love DeviantArt user MadamLuck’s fantastic koi nails that actually fit together in one larger design.
6. Up, Up, and Awesome
MadamLuck is also quite gifted when it comes to painting faces on nails. Just look at her delightful take on the movie Up!
7. Breaking So Good
When it comes to geeky and intricate nails, no name is more respected or better known than artist Kayleigh O’Connor. From My Little Ponies to Mars Attacks! and from Batman to The Hobbit, Kayleigh has made fantastic, detailed nails representing a variety of pop culture references. Any nerd girl looking around her Tumblr or DeviantArt is guaranteed to find something she likes. Her Breaking Bad nails are her most popular design and feature both the show’s logo and Walter’s famous “Blue Sky” meth.
8. Monster Nails
If you’re looking for truly impressive levels of detail, Kayleigh’s Monster Inc. nails are sure to wow, as they feature not only 3D accents, an incredible paint job and fun accessories like googly eyes, but even a strikingly unique fur material—which might just be a first in nail art.
9. Edward Scissorfingers
Kayleigh also experiments with the shape of her nails, creating such drastic shapes as Edward Scissorhands’ famous hair and the scissored hands that give him his name.
10. Fluttershy Makes Hearts Flutter
Fluttershy was given the full 3D nail treatment by Kayleigh, complete with her butterfly “cutie mark.”
Nail art doesn’t need to be impractical. These adorable Frankenweenie designs by Nails By Coewless are quite detailed, but they won’t get in your way when you try to go about your everyday life. For those interested, Coewless also has some other impressive designs on her Flickr stream that were inspired by Alice in Wonderland, My Neighbor Totoro, Dexter, and other great shows and movies.
12. Floral Fingers
If you’re wondering how DeviantArt user henzy89 built up such a massive 3D bouquet on her thumb nail, the secret is the same that sculptors throughout the ages have relied on—clay.
13. How Sweet
Looking for some particularly sweet nails? Then head to This Is Venice to check out more from Lili guyen, the creator of this set that is filled with ice cream and hearts.
As a bit of a tomboy, I’ve never been able to keep paint on my fingernails for more than a few days, so I don’t bother painting them at all –let alone in elaborate designs like these. Have any of you ladies ever gone all out with an intricate manicure like those you’ve seen here?